South Side gang member gets four years in prison

By Peter H. Milliken


A 20-year-old West Ravenwood Avenue man, who pleaded guilty to robbery and participating in a criminal gang, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court imposed the sentence Tuesday on O’Keefe Brown, a member of the H-Block gang.

The H stands for Hilton Avenue on the city’s South Side, said Martin P. Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor.

The robbery charge pertains to a 16-year-old, who was jumped and robbed after leaving a school bus at South and Avondale avenues Nov. 19, 2011, Desmond said.

“O’Keefe Brown didn’t act by himself. There are other people who acted with him. It’s a case that causes fear in all of us,” said Desmond, who asked the judge to impose a three-year prison term on Brown.

“There needs to be a message sent, not just to him, but to other gang members in the community, that we’re not going to tolerate this behavior,” Desmond told the judge.

Defense lawyer Douglas Taylor said he doesn’t dispute his client’s complicity in the criminal gang, but added that Brown has strong family support and no prior adult criminal convictions.

Taylor, who called for leniency in sentencing, said after court that the judge’s sentence will be appealed.

“I just want to take full responsibility and get my life together,” Brown told the judge before she imposed sentence.

Brown will be on post-release control for three years after he leaves prison.

Brown’s co-defendants in the gang case, Frankie Hudson Jr., 21, of Falls Avenue, and Ruben Joel Sanchez Jr., 19, of Hilton Avenue, have been sentenced to prison: Hudson for nine years, and Sanchez for 10 years.

The final defendant, Deon M. Sanders, 21, of Dennick Avenue, is to be sentenced at 9 a.m. today.

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